6 Ways A Cease And Desist Letter Protects Worker Rights


A cease and desist (CAD) letter is sent by one party to another person or company to tell it to stop doing something that violates the rights of the one who sent the letter. It usually demands that the offending party should discontinue its specific actions. These actions are considered harmful to the legal rights and interests of the offended party. For example, workers can send their employer a CAD letter if they think their rights are violated.

Businesses and employers should have a sound plan for handling workers’ complaints and employee grievances before they get out of hand. Management should have a training program on how to handle potential employee complaints. If you already have a potential grievance in your hands, you might want to read more about how a business should handle a cease and desist letter FloridaOpens in a new tab..

Cease And Desist Letter 

A cease-and-desist (CAD) letter is also sometimes called by these other names/ terms:

All employers aspire to provide a workplace that nurtures and enables worker productivity and happinessOpens in a new tab.. But misunderstandings and disputes are bound to happen every now and then wherever there’s human interaction. Even in the best workplaces, workers will have grievances every once in a while. Here are some of the ways by which a cease-and-desist letter would be able to protect worker rights:

1. Protection Against Threat Or Actual Discrimination

One of the ways by which a CAD letter can protect worker rights is to demand that his or her employer stop their discrimination practices or behavior. This is especially helpful when an employee is experiencing actual or threat of discrimination. For example, an employee is being deprived of certain rights or privileges on account of belonging to a certain class or category of persons. As such, it might be time to send the employer a CAD letter.

Keep in mind that the lawyer of the party who will send the letter should meet three conditions if the issue has already progressed into a civil matter in court. These preconditions are mandated by the American Bar Association’s (ABA’s) Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Here are those preconditions: 

  • The prospect of criminal charges being raised should have a connection to the civil matter already in dispute. The legal profession considers it a deceptive tactic to raise a criminal charge which isn’t related to the civil matter.
  • The lawyer should have a basis to honestly believe that both the civil claim and the criminal charges being raised have merit based on Florida law.
  • The lawyer who sends out the CAD letter shouldn’t attempt to interfere with or improperly influence the criminal charges being raised.

2. Protection Against Termination For Illegal Reason

Many states across the United States are at-will. At-will employment allows businesses and employers to terminate their employees and workers even without cause or simply at their will. They can, in fact, terminate their employees without stating any reason or justification whatsoever.

However, employers should know that there are certain things that they’re not allowed to do when terminating their employees. Employers aren’t permitted to fire or terminate any employee for an illegal reason. This is an exception to the prerogative of employers to fire their workers at will. For instance, an employer isn’t permitted to terminate an employee as a discriminatory action.

Under US federal law, employers aren’t permitted to terminate employees and workers on account of their:

  • Race
  • National origin
  • Ethnicity
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information
  • Age 
  • Disability

A worker or employee who receives a termination notice because of discriminatory grounds or practices may send a CAD letter to their employer. This would help protect rights against termination due to discrimination.

3. Protect Against Reprisal For Complaining Against Employer

When an employer is not well aware or doesn’t have a good grasp of the rights of workers, they might commit unintended infractions or violations of employment law. The employee or worker might complain about certain actions or practices of the employer which are inimical to the rights or interests of employees and workers. 

Some employers don’t take this well. Some employees mark out employees or workers who have spoken out and lodged complaints. There are even employers who go out of their way to retaliate against an employee who has filed a complaint against the employer. They sometimes suspend the employee or mark them out for non-renewal of contract. 

When this happens, the employee or worker can seek the help of a lawyer who can send out on his or her behalf, a CAD letter to the employer. The CAD letter can help protect the worker’s rights from being violated by the employer. The CAD letter can demand that the employer immediately rescind the employee‘s suspension. 

In cases of retaliatory non-renewal of contract, the CAD letter can demand that the employer shouldn’t use the complaint filed by the employee as grounds for not renewing the employee’s contract. This is a retaliatory tactic and an illegal reasons for terminating an employee. Employers should keep in mind that they’re not allowed to fire an employee simply because that employee filed a complaint against them. The employer would in that case be seen as retaliating against the worker. 

4. Protection For Taking Part In Legitimate Activities

Federal US law protects the rights of employees and workers to take part in legitimate work and work-related activities. The employer is prohibited from firing an employee or worker solely based on having taken part in an activity that is deemed protected and legitimate under the law.

The employee can send a CAD letter to the employer if the employer prohibits or penalizes an employee who took part in a protected legitimate activity. The CAD letter may demand that the employer desist from firing the employee. It may also demand that the employer cease prohibiting workers who wish to take part in a legitimate activity. 

Here are some of the legitimate work and work-related activities which are protected under federal U.S. law:

  • Complaining about unfair labor practices (ULP)
  • Organizing themselves into a labor union or joining an existing union
  • Asking for an investigation into reported company practices which can be considered harassment or discrimination 
  • Reporting work conditions that can be considered hazardous or harmful to the health and well-being of employees and workers

5. Protect Worker Rights From Violations Of State Law

Numerous states have also passed their own laws for the protection of worker rights. These laws are separate and distinct from the federal U.S. laws on labor and worker rights. Here are some of the things that workers or employees do, where it’s common for employers to overlook that they’re not supposed to retaliate.

  • Workers can report an employer’s possible legal violations without fear of retribution from their employer.
  • Workers have the freedom to take part in workplace investigations into alleged violations. Employers shouldn’t pressure their workers to stay out of investigations if their testimony is relevant.
  • Workers should be allowed to claim their compensation without being afraid that their employer might mark them for retaliation.

6. Protection From Harassment On Social Media

Workers and employees who are tagged by their employers on social media even for even their behavior in the workplace might be able to resort to a cease and desistOpens in a new tab. (CAD) letter. For instance, an employer might post on social media things that happened in the workplace without giving the worker or employee the benefit of explaining themselves. The worker or employee can send a CAD letter to their employer to cease and desist from tagging their names or accounts on social media. 

The CAD letter here can protect the worker from being defamed on social media or any platform on the internet. They can also seek help from a lawyer and file the appropriate legal charges. Businesses and employers should have a sound plan for handling situations like these. They should also proactively train their managers and supervisors to refrain from taking workplace disputes to social media platforms no matter how aggrieved they may have felt. 

On the other hand, businesses and employers who feel they may have been defamed on social media or elsewhere on the internet should have a sound action plan on how to deal with such situations. If an aggrieved worker or an employee with a complaint makes potentially defamatory posts on social media and negatively affects the business, the employer should have a proactive plan on how to protect their reputation without violating the rights of the worker or employee.

Conclusion

Disputes between businesses or employers and their workers or employees should, as much as possible, be resolved within the confines of the business organization. However, there are times when misunderstandings and disputes in the workplace get out of hand. Some employees take their grievances to social media or other forums. Other managers and supervisors could also be harassing their employees. Workers and employees can send out a cease-and-desist letter when their rights are being violated.

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